The Seventy Fifth Call: Prohibition of Conversing about Sin and Aggression

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The Seventy Fifth Call: Prohibition of Conversing about Sin and Aggression


Almighty Allah says (what can be translated as): "O you who have believed, when you converse privately, do not converse about sin and aggression and disobedience to the Messenger but converse about righteousness and piety. And fear Allah, to whom you will be gathered. (9) Private conversation is only from Satan that he may grieve those who have believed, but he will not harm them at all except by permission of Allah. And upon Allah let the believers rely. (10)" (Surat al-Mujadila)


Almighty Allah disciplines His believing servants so that they do not become like the polytheists and hypocrites. He says to them if you converse privately in your gatherings, do not do the same as the disbelievers, the People of the Scripture and those who follow them in delusion such as the hypocrites. Converse about righteousness and fear Allah with regard to what you do and what you do not. Know that you will be gathered to face Allah Almighty on the Day of Resurrection to be judged for your deeds. Conversing in private about sinning and committing aggression is from Satan and his insinuating whispers to make sin appealing to you. Satan does so to make the believers sad deluding them to believe that this secret conversation among the disbelievers and hypocrites will harm them, but indeed Satan cannot harm the believers except by permission of Allah. So, believers should not worry about the secret conversations of disbelievers and hypocrites and they have to entrust Allah and rely on Him. (It was narrated that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: "When you are three, two should not converse (privately) to the exclusion of their companion, because that makes him sad." (Bukhari and Muslim)


It seems that some in the Muslim community had not fully absorbed the sense of Islamic discipline. Such people met when times were hard to consult among themselves, and this was unknown to their leadership. This is something contrary to the nature of the Muslim community and the spirit of Islamic discipline, which together require that every view or suggestion first be presented to the leadership, not to fringe groups. It also appears that some of these fringe groups might have stirred up trouble that could have had negative effects on the Muslim community. These people may also not have had any intention of causing harm or difficulty for the Muslim community, but by raising certain subjects and discussing them without having a full picture of the matter this could cause such harm.


The surah addresses them as believers, using their quality that establishes their bond with Allah. This makes the address especially effective. It tells them that should they converse in private, then their conversation must not involve anything that connotes sin, aggressive conduct or disobedience of the Prophet. The only subjects that are fitting for believers are those that promote righteousness and Allah-consciousness, with the aim of facilitating them and bringing about their results, which are always good. This surah reminds them that they should remain Allah¬fearing, for they will certainly be gathered to Him and He will hold them to account for their deeds; these He knows no matter how hard they try to conceal them.

A man stopped Abdullah ibn Umar as he was walking with a friend and asked him: "What did you hear the Prophet say about secret conversations on the Day of Judgment?' He answered: "I heard the Prophet when he said that Allah will bring a believer close to Him and shield him with His cover, so that he will not be seen by others. He will ask him about his sins, naming them one after one. When the man has acknowledged all his sins and feels that he will be doomed, Allah will say to him: 'I have kept these sins secret for you during your life on earth; now I forgive you them.' He will then be given the record of his good deeds. As for the unbelievers and the hypocrites, the witnesses will point to them and say; 'These are the ones who have lied about their Lord. Allah’s curse befalls the wrongdoers." [Related by Ahmad, al-Bukharl and Muslim]


In this way, such people are put off secret conversations and side whispers unknown to the Muslim community to which they belong and whose interests are the same as their own. In other words, they must not think themselves separate from the Muslim community in anyway. The surah tells them that when other Muslims see such side whispering and secret conversations, they are hurt by them. They feel apprehensive, concerned that a lack of trust has crept into the community. Satan always tries to tempt whisperers to go further in order to cause worry and grief to others. However, the surah reassures the believers that Satan will not achieve his purpose: "Private conversation is only from Satan that he may grieve those who have believed, but he will not harm them at all except by permission of Allah. And upon Allah let the believers rely." Believers place their trust in Allah and in no one else.


The Prophet repeatedly advised against secret conversations whenever such talk caused doubt, anxiety and apprehension. He is quoted by Ibn Mas�ud as saying: "When there are only three of you, let there be no discussion between two of them to the exclusion of the thirds for this is bound to grieve him." [Related by al-Bukharl and Muslim.]


This is an aspect of fine manners, and a wise precaution against what causes suspicion. Sometimes however, there is need for a private discussion in order to keep a secret, or to avoid a scandal. This is acceptable and it normally takes place among community leaders. It must never, however, be through a side group with the rest of the community unaware of what is going on. Such a practice is divisive and leads to friction and grief, which is Satan’s aim. Allah's promise is definitive. Satan will not achieve his purpose by such means, because Allah will protect the Muslim community. He is fully aware of every secret conversation, every conspiracy against the Muslim community, Satan can never harm the believers "…except by permission of Allah." (Verse 10) This exception is added to emphasize that Allah’s will is absolute and free of restriction in any situation to which His promise applies. "And upon Allah let the believers rely. " (Verse 10) He is the Guardian who protects the believers. He is the Almighty who knows all, the Witness to ail things. Nothing in the universe escapes His knowledge. Nothing occurs unless it be by His will. He has promised to protect the believers. Could there by anything more reassuring?

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